Chanda Kochhar 'to go on leave', Bakhshi new COO: ICICI Bank

Chanda Kochhar 'to go on leave', Bakhshi new COO: ICICI Bank

In other news, ICICI Bank Board also recommended to the Board of Directors of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company to appoint NS Kannan as the Managing Director & Chief Executive Office (CEO) of the company subject to regulatory and other approvals. According to Jefferies, the transition from Kochhar to Bakshi should be smooth considering that Bakshi has been associated with the ICICI bank group for 32 years, working across its diverse verticals (both corporate & retail) and other subsidiaries. "Without second-guessing the ICICI Bank board, we wonder under what circumstances the three-tier structure at the bank might be collapsed to two, as a COO role strikes us as unnecessary in the long term", said Jefferies in a report on ICICI Bank.

Despite being low-cost, ICICI stock could continue to lag peers in the near term given the uncertainty around top management, Morgan Stanley says. "Since the events are already recorded and possibly can not be altered, requesting Kochhar to proceed on leave at this point in time may send the wrong signal to stakeholders, especially after the board had showed full confidence and faith in her when the issue first broke out", the report quoted one of the board members as saying. The bank on its part has clarified that Chanda Kochhar was part of the credit committee meeting which evaluated the Videocon loan in 2012. Ms Kochhar has been facing allegations made by a whistleblower about sanctioning of loans to the Videocon Group in lieu of investments made in the companies promoted by her husband.

The board had, at that time in March-end, told the stock exchanges in a notice that it came "to the conclusion that there is no question of any quid pro quo/nepotism/conflict of interest as is being alleged in various rumours". Prior to this role, Bakhshi was the deputy managing director of ICICI Bank.


The inquiry would also cover all connected matters in the course of the investigation to bring the matter to a final close. By a quirk of history, the Indian government has an ICICI board seat.

The market had been anticipating the decision on Kochhar. The lender and Kochhar have denied all allegation and claims they are clean. "She [Kochhar] should have either quit the bank or chose to be in charge", said an analyst with a foreign brokerage, on condition of anonymity.

The reshuffle comes after the bank named retired Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna, as the head of its internal probe into complaints against Kochhar by an anonymous whistleblower.

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